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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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YOUNG BUFFALO

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In wilder times, man hunted for survival or to prove his worthiness to pass along his DNA. This modern life requires no such effort. But the compulsive nature of man leads us to search none-the-less, scouring the city for the best taco or the perfect lamp. Obsession is a modern man’s hunger, and no variation of man knows this deep-pitted yearning more than the music fanatic. We track our prey on the interwebz and through the record stores, flipping through racks of records and reading tomes of reviews with a junkie-like fever, searching for the next morsel to sate our urges. We have a yearning in the pits of our soul that is as real as any physical craving. In truth, we can never get enough. It is as if our record collections are somehow the measure by which our worthiness is now measured, and we consume as if our genes depended on it. But sometimes in our journeys, we can stumble into something so satisfying that we can just kick back in our caves and give our restless search a respite. In late February of 2010, me and a group of like-minded brothers rambled into Jackson’s Ole Tavern on George Street. We were coming from a banquet in our suits and ties, hoping to find a drink and not much more. But for creatures such as we, the hunger is always boiling below the surface. As we entered the building and made our way up the stairs, a soaring sound echoed off the walls and into our minds. With intricate harmonies that recalled the playfulness of Feels-era Animal Collective and a crisply fast-tempo guitar that was equal parts Surf and Graceland-era Paul Simon, our interests were piqued. What we found was a band of young men on stage whose youthful appearance belied the maturity and complexity of what we were hearing. Our eyes narrowed as we drew a bead on them, stalking quietly from the shadows. Who were these guys with their fancy tunes and their modern pants? Our inquiries would be answered by the barkeep, with uncertainty: “Young Buffalo?” I would find out who this Young Buffalo was, as I approached their singer/guitarist, Jim Barrett, for the real word {and later the rest of the band through the miracle of the telephone.} Young Buffalo, as it turns out, was a newly-formed band from Oxford that had only been playing together a few months at the time. Despite the brevity of their union, Barrett had formed a tight and dynamic sound with keyboardist Alex Von Hardberger and bassist Ben Yarbrough. “We played together some in high school {in rural Taylor, MS}, and then they {Barrett and Von Hardberger} asked if I wanted to join this new band…” Yarbrough recalls. “We all wrote our own songs, and we just kind of play through them and add our own parts” Barrett adds. That dynamic of individual creativity and freedom has served the band well, as they’ve managed to forge a cohesively complex sound out of the individualism. They sound familiar, but in a way that makes their music instantly accessible while not being derivative. “We drew a lot of inspiration from The Beach Boys, David Bowie, Neutral Milk Hotel, and some indie groups like Animal Collective…” Barrett stated. Amazingly, as I listened to a demo recording of their songs, it wasn’t exaggeration to say that Young Buffalo, at moments, held their own with the bands that have influenced them. Could they build on these moments of brilliance? It may be unfair to ask that much of such a young band, but their first recorded efforts confirm the high promise of their live performance. On “New Beat” and “Speak EZ,” the band channel’s Fleet Foxes’ harmonies and song structure while adding a more modern flavor, via their instrumentation, that is far more clean-shaven than mountain man. Snow Angels, in addition to a wonderfully melodic chorus, features a killer guitar solo that reveals not only good songwriting and vocalization, but surprising musicianship. But it is on “Catapilah,” that the band’s potential is truly revealed. Barrett’s crisp guitar playing creates an energetic pace while Von Hardberger’s keys subtly add textures as the song builds to a memorable crescendo in the chorus where harmonies soar higher and higher. Barrett sings “…you get what you put into it” before the rest of the band breaks in with a playful and creative vocal breakdown that recall’s Feels-era Animal Collective in both structure and tone. The imagination and musicianship on this song, more so than any of their others, leads you to believe that Young Buffalo’s first record could be something that garners national attention, should they be able to sustain it over a full-length release. But these recordings confirmed what we suspected the moment we heard them that night in the stairwell - these guys were something special. As we left that night, our unexpected hunt successful, our hungers had been satisfied completely. Young Buffalo was exactly what we went out into the city nights looking for, a band so new that no one had heard of them, yet so good that everyone you know would very soon know them well. We had found the white buffalo in Young Buffalo, a sight so rare and special that you take it back to your homes and tell others about it in words that would seem like hyperbole had you not been there to witness it yourself.-----Chris Nolen, Hymnalzine http://myspace.com/youngbuffalo http://facebook.com/youngbuffalo booking/contact-- buffalo.young@gmail.com User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License and may also be available under the GNU FDL.

Tracks We Played

NATURE BOY

Young Buffalo (EP)
Last Played on February 06, 2013 7:17am